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article image'Elysium' leads crowded box office

By Tim O'Brien     Aug 11, 2013 in Entertainment
Matt Damon took his "Elysium" to the top as it beat the comedy about a fake drug smuggling family in "We're the Millers."
While the family is fake, the drug smuggling is not, and that makes for a familiar plot line. It was the politically-tinged "Elysium" that emerged from the crowded movie theater scene.
As if it was taken from the headlines like a "Law and Order" episode, "Elysium" tells a story of a man seeking to get into that Utopian world set up by the wealthy. The rest of humanity tries to survive on a beat up Earth. Politics can enter the dialogue, and many times it can lift a movie. In this one, border control, health care, Big Brother, all come to mind.
Director Neill Blomkamp was able to make his "District 9" a solid effort as well. In fact, it went on to surprise many. Among many nomination and awards, it was in the mix for best picture in 2009.
The comedy, "We're the Millers," featuring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis had a solid start for this genre. The total for the weekend lands in it second, bit it wins if the total is added in.
Meanwhile, four new films entered the picture that all had theater counts of over 3,000. Add those in to the films already out and you have plenty of competition.
1. "Elysium" - $30.5 million
2. "We're the Millers" - $26.5 million, (opened Wednesday. Total, $38 million)
3. "Planes" - $22.5 million,
4. "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters" - $14.6 million, (opened Thursday. Total, $23.4 million)
5. "2 Guns" - $11.1 million
A film with that total may not be a headline grabber, but with that competition, many grabbed some box office. Now, with many films starting earlier, they go into the weekend with momentum, hopefully. Last week's winner, "2 Guns" fell close to 59 percent and dipped to No. 5.
Looking at the budget for "Planes," it bodes well for this animated feature. It was not a huge hit out of the gate, but with a $50 million budget, it will be fine. Others may want to look at the budget model going forward for an animated film. Why the need for a budget of well over $100 million for them is often mind-boggling.
On the smaller side, "Lovelace" failed to score on that per screen average as it faltered with a total of $184,000 in 118 theaters. "In a Word" was in three theaters and took in roughly $71,000 for a $23,667 per screen average, noted Box Office Mojo.
It may seem trivial to some, but look for a name change for "The Butler" as it get ready for release this August 16. It is now "Lee Daniels' The Butler." A film that seems tailor-made for award season, even if it isn't a hit. It is a Harvey Weinstein production and with that comes a marketing push, and a track history during the award season process.
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